In a letter sent out this week, from Mike Peters, highways manager for Cornwall Council, businesses were told to remove signs from outside their premises because they are an obstruction to shoppers. I can't imagine why this might actually be a problem...
This 'problem' is not an intractable one. Certainly, the example I have shown here is clearly an obstacle, especially when one considers the amount of traffic that this so-called pedestrianised street attracts. During the busiest times of day, the street conjures up images of an M25-esque car park impassable to vehicles and pedestrians alike.
Whilst businesses here require deliveries along this street - there is precious little, if any rear access - walking down it can prove to be a surprisingly stressful affair. If the highways department of Cornwall Council were serious about maintaining the pedestrianisation on Causewayhead, then perhaps they should concentrate more on enhancing its pedestrianised nature by limiting access to it to certain times of the day as has been adopted successfully in other towns and cities across the world.
Secondly, whilst I agree that certain a-frames and signs do constitute an access risk, each of the traders concerned claim that their placement can account for up to 20% of their trade. This should not be overlooked in our impoverished economy. People have suggested that the signs be suspended by wires across the two sides of the street, which would also serve as a height restriction on vehicles, further reducing intrusive vehicular access.
In conversation with my diverse group of friends and acquaintances in Penzance, we often come to similar conclusions; differing more on the details rather than the general principles at hand. Why cannot Cornwall Council understand that the local populace - not just in Penzance, but in all parts of the county - is far better positioned to understand the problems we face in our communities than an indifferent and monolithic set of pen-pushers in Truro, or their extortionate and oft-criticised up-country marketing and P.R. agencies, that between them have hitherto destroyed all but the hardiest of local traders at the dubious benefit of out of town shopping 'experiences' that channel our incomes up the line?
Anyone would think someone's pockets are being lined.